On Feb. 24, Alaska joined Washington State, Colorado and Oregon in taking steps to end in practice the disastrous, decades-long federal prohibition on marijuana.
Ballot Measure 2, which was approved by Alaska voters in Nov. 2014 by a 53-47 margin, is now officially being implemented in the state, legalizing marijuana for the general public, and the first step to effectively thwart the federal prohibition on the same.
At this very moment, Alaskans are now allowed to possess up to one ounce of marijuana for recreational possession. They can grow up to six plants in their place of residence with three of them being mature. Alaskans are allowed to gift lawful quantities of marijuana to others if they so choose. These new rules apply only to people aged 21 or older.
However, there is still a ways to go before Alaska’s legal marijuana distribution system becomes similar to the one used in Colorado. Alaska’s law is not yet in full effect, and it is going to take time to fully implement. An Alaska Dispatch News article elaborates on this:
"Don’t expect retail marijuana stores to pop up next to your favorite pizza place for at least one more year. Commercial marijuana businesses — whether they are planning to grow, process, bake, or sell marijuana products — won’t be able to legally operate until spring or summer of 2016.
Some folks have asked why it’s taking so long. We voted for this, so why isn’t it happening? The answer is, it is happening. Since January, our Legislature has been working to bring existing criminal statutes into line with the voter initiative. Tuesday marks the beginning of a nine-month rulemaking process during which the regulations under which marijuana businesses will operate will be developed and refined. Under the provisions of the voter initiative, the state is expected to begin accepting applications for operating permits by February 2016 — a full year from now. This timeline was clearly defined in the voter initiative and, so far, the process is on schedule."
Although it hasn’t quite happened yet, a state-regulated market for recreational marijuana is on its way to Alaska. The best thing about these types of reforms is that they are completely, undeniably legal. The states have no obligation to administer federal policies to prohibit marijuana. This is based off of hundreds of years of established case law. All the feds can do is watch in their ivory towers as their Drug War gravy train slips away once and for all.
In spite of being many miles away from Washington DC, Alaska and other states can bring federal cannabis prohibition to an end. Without help, the feds lack the resources to enact their policies. Consider the impact if state and local law enforcement refuses to cooperate as well. States with any form of legalized marijuana should immediately direct state and local law enforcement to stand down. If the feds want to enforce their unconscionable and inhumane marijuana ban, let them try to do it themselves.
The state of Alaska legalizing cannabis a game changer. It could signal the trend of more red states embracing the cannabis revolution. Full-blown legalization is clearly on its way whether the prohibitionists like it or not. This issue transcends traditional partisan political lines. Every person, no matter if they live in a red state or a blue state, will be experiencing legal marijuana before too long. We can expedite that process by getting involved right now.
For all states: Please call your legislators and politely urge them to take decisive action against federal cannabis prohibition. Suggest that they introduce our P.E.A.C.E. Act to deny state and local compliance with federal marijuana laws.